The Times of Israel liveblogged Wednesday and early Thursday’s developments as they unfolded.
The US biotech company Moderna will soon deliver two batches of 150,000 vaccines to Israel, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
The first shipment will arrive on Thursday, followed by another early next week, the report says.
The government has refrained from confirming the arrival of the Moderna vaccines, with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein saying Tuesday that it won’t come before March.
Israel is set to run out of its supply of Pfizer vaccines by next week, with the next delivery not expected until February.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the spiritual leader of large swaths of the ultra-Orthodox community, urges his followers to heed the government lockdown regulations and the instructions from the medical establishment.
But Kanievsky does not refer explicitly to whether schools should remain open, following reports earlier today that he instructed Haredi institutions to keep running despite the countrywide shutdown of schools set to start Friday, for at least two weeks.
A British judge denies bail to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, who has been jailed in Britain since 2019 as he fights extradition to the United States.
District Judge Vanessa Baraitser orders Assange to remain in prison while the courts consider an appeal by US authorities against a decision not to extradite him.
On Monday, the judge rejected an American request to send Assange to the US to face espionage charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret military documents a decade ago. She denied extradition on health grounds, saying the 49-year-old Australian was likely to kill himself if held under harsh US prison conditions.
The judge says Wednesday that Assange “has an incentive to abscond” and there is a good chance he would fail to return to court if freed.
The ruling means Assange must remain in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison where he has been held since April 2019, when he was arrested for skipping bail during a separate legal battle seven years earlier.
Lawyers for the US government have appealed the decision not to extradite Assange, and the case will be heard by Britain’s Hugh Court at an unspecified date.
The Blue and White party denies it’s seeking to run jointly with the right-wing Yamina party in the upcoming March elections.
The party also says its leader, Benny Gantz, will “run until the end to ensure that Bibi [Netanyahu] goes [home],” dismissing rumors he would take a break from political life.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the Jerusalem District Court to delay a hearing scheduled for next week in his corruption trial.
The hearing was set to focus on Netanyahu’s response to the criminal indictment against him. But the prime minister’s defense team is now seeking more time to respond to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s acknowledgment that he had authorized the criminal probes against the premier, but not in writing.
Netanyahu’s lawyers argue the lack of written consent undermines the entire case and has called for the charges to be canceled. The attorney general, however, said there was no legal requirement for the authorization to be in written form.
The lawyers are asking for a month postponement, Hebrew media reports say.
According to Channel 13, Netanyahu is weighing using this time — and the claim the police investigations went ahead without the attorney general’s okay — to seek parliamentary immunity.
Shaul and Iris Elovitch, key suspects in one of the bribery cases involving the premier, have also asked for a delay, the Kan public broadcaster reports. They say four of their lawyers are in quarantine from the virus, and cite other procedural issues in their request.
The lawyer for a Pakistani man convicted and later acquitted in the 2002 killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl says that he will petition the Supreme Court to free his client.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, remains in custody in a jail in the southern port city of Karachi, despite the acquittal. Pearl’s family and the Pakistani government have appealed the acquittal to the Supreme Court, which resumed its hearing this week. A decision is expected before the end of the month.
Sheikh’s lawyer, Mehmood A. Sheikh, has been trying to get his client, who has been on death row for 18 years, freed since the acquittal.
The lawyer tells The Associated Press he was demanding freedom for Sheikh in line with an order issued last month by the Sindh High Court. The lawyer, who is not related to Sheikh, said he also wants three other co-accused suspects freed. Their lesser charges of aiding and abetting were also overturned.
Last month, the US warned it won’t allow Sheikh to escape justice. Acting US Attorney General Jeffery Rosen praised Pakistan for appealing the Sindh court’s order but said that if “those efforts do not succeed, the United States stands ready to take custody of Omar Sheikh to stand trial” in America.
The Pearl family lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi, said he will oppose the petition, adding he was confident Sheikh would not be freed.
“He will not be released,” said Siddiqi. “Omar Sheikh’s lawyer’s request has twice been denied.”
Sheikh was convicted of helping lure Pearl to a meeting in Karachi, during which he was kidnapped. Pearl was investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, dubbed the “Shoe Bomber” after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.
A gruesome video of Pearl’s beheading was sent to the US Consulate. The 38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter from Encino, California was abducted Jan. 23, 2002. His body was later found in a shallow grave in a southern Karachi neighborhood.
Sheikh was sentenced to death and the others to life in prison for their role in the plot. The acquittal had stunned the US government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups.
Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen, formerly of Blue and White, quits the Knesset, a day after announcing she’s joining Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid ahead of the March elections.
The European Medicines Agency says that it has given the green light for US firm Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, the second to be cleared for use in the EU.
“EMA has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for Covid-19 Vaccine Moderna to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 in people from 18 years of age,” the Amsterdam-based regulator says in a statement.
The announcement comes days after Israel approved Moderna’s vaccine for use.
A 40-year-old woman died of the coronavirus a short while after arriving at the emergency room at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, Channel 12 reports.
The woman suffered organ and heart failure upon her arrival at the hospital. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
The report says the woman experienced COVID-19 symptoms a few days before her death. It was not immediately clear if she knew she was sick with the virus.
The woman, a mother of four, had preexisting health conditions.
Acting Justice Minister Benny Gantz says he’ll ensure the courts remain open during the upcoming lockdown.
His comments come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks a monthlong delay in his criminal trial.
“Netanyahu, don’t worry. The courts will remain open, it’s on me,” tweets Gantz sardonically.
Police officers who allowed a mass wedding go ahead in Beitar Illit have been summoned for a hearing on their conduct, according to the Ynet news site.
The announcement comes after a photo circulates on social media showing an officer bowing as he receives a blessing during the event, surrounded by unmasked Hasidic revelers.
תמונה מחתונת תולדות אברהם יצחק אמש בביתר עילית שאומרת הכל pic.twitter.com/P7lBaxcJwk
— אהרן רבינוביץ (@AronRabino1) January 6, 2021
Beitar Illit is one of most highly infected areas in the country, with 26% of coronavirus tests there returning positive.
Sudan says it has signed the “Abraham Accords” with the US, paving the way for normalization of ties with Israel.
The move came during Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s visit to Khartoum, as he became the first senior American official to land there since President Donald Trump’s administration removed the African country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The Israel Defense Forces says it plans to knock down two floors of the building that were home to the Palestinian man suspected of killing Esther Horgen in a terror attack last month.
The suspected terrorist, Muhammad Mruh Kabha, was arrested shortly after Horgen’s body was found outside the Tal Menashe settlement where she lived in the northern West Bank.
The military says Kabha’s family has been informed of its intention to demolish the two floors and will have the right to challenge the order in court.
Acting Justice Minister Benny Gantz holds a meeting with Supreme Court President Esther Hayut.
“Minister Gantz told President Hayut that he is committed to upholding the rule of law, the independence of the judicial system and its proper functioning,” according to a joint statement by Gantz and Hayut.
US Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is claiming victory in his race against Republican David Perdue, thanking Georgians for “electing me to serve you.”
The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the race between Ossoff and Perdue, which is too early to call.
Ossoff makes the comments in a speech on social media. He says the campaign has been about health, jobs and justice for Georgians.
He adds that he intends to serve all people in the state.
Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections will decide control of the US Senate. In the other race, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler.
Yesh Atid MK Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh, 36, announces she’s taking a break from political life and won’t run in the March elections.
Kamal-Mreeh, a former journalist, is the first Druze woman to serve in Israel’s parliament.
She entered the Knesset after the April 2019 elections.
“My decision was not easy and was made after much deliberation, but I am entirely at peace with it,” she says in a statement, calling her parliamentary career an “honor.”
The Hadassah hospitals in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus inform their staff that as of Thursday, those who hadn’t received doses of coronavirus vaccine won’t be allowed to continue to work.
The Jerusalem-based hospitals will put those staff members on vacation leave.
The order, which comes amid a huge spike in cases, doesn’t apply to those who recovered from the disease or are participating in the Israeli vaccine trial.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev informs its staff and students that its servers have been targeted in a cyberattack.
The Beersheba-based university is investigating. It’s not immediately clear who is behind the breach and whether information was compromised.
A hospital in northern Israel was forced to deny life-saving treatment to two coronavirus patients in serious condition, in the first incident of its kind in Israel since the start of the pandemic, the Haaretz daily reports.
Over the weekend, two COVID-19 patients in northern Israel needed to be hooked up to an apparatus to assist the heart and lungs — an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. But the hospital was unable to provide the treatment due to a lack of manpower, says Haaretz. The two — aged 65 and 66 — are currently on ventilators.
Medical officials tell the paper the incident marks the first time doctors in Israel have been forced to deny the treatment since March.
The unveiling of a large statue in Beirut of an Iranian commander killed by the US last year has sparked indignation among many in Lebanon — the latest manifestation of a growing schism between supporters and opponents of the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah.
The bronze bust of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was erected Tuesday by the Ghobeiry municipality in a Hezbollah stronghold near Beirut’s airport to commemorate the slain general’s supportive role in Lebanon’s wars with Israel. Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s proxy terror groups in the Middle East, was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport a year ago.
Many Lebanese, mostly critics of Hezbollah, take to social media to lambast the celebration of a foreign military leader in Lebanon’s capital. “Occupied Beirut,” tweets one Lebanese, Amin Abou Mansour, who posts it with the hashtag #BeirutFree_IranOut.
Others lament what they described as the cultural hegemony of Hezbollah and its ally, Iran. Wael Attallah, a Lebanese Canadian, tweets: “This is a cultural aggression being imposed on Lebanon. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese today feel violated and powerless. The Schism is getting wider day by day, little by little.”
One Lebanese media personality says she received death threats after her criticism on social media of the new statue.
The criticism triggers a backlash from supporters, who start a Twitter storm with the hashtag: #Soleimani-is-one-of-us.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks to his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, Gabi Ashkenazi and Riyad al-Malki, ahead of an international meeting focused on reviving the peace process, the Walla news site reports.
That meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany will be held in the coming days, it says.
Germany, France and Britain say they are “deeply concerned” about Iran’s move to step up its uranium enrichment, warning of “very significant” risks.
“This action, which has no credible civil justification and carries very significant proliferation-related risks, is in clear violation of Iran’s commitments” under the 2015 landmark nuclear deal agreed with world powers, the European trio says.
“We strongly urge Iran to stop enriching uranium to up to 20 percent without delay,” they add.
Ukraine is investigating whether vaccines were smuggled from Israel and illegally used at a Kyiv clinic, Reuters reports.
Senior Ukrainian officials and businessmen are among those believed to have received the shot, which hasn’t been approved by Ukraine.
The vaccine is believed to be the Pfizer-BioNTech version. The clinic accused of running the operation reportedly charged 3,000 euros per dose.
“None of the vaccines are currently certified in Ukraine. And I’m sure no rational person would get vaccinated with drugs of unknown origin,” says Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.
Police are gearing up to enforce the tighter lockdown rules, which go into effect at midnight on Thursday night for at least two weeks.
Some 5,000 police officers will be deployed to enforce the rules, including school closures and the shuttering of nonessential businesses.
Checkpoints will be set up on major highways and within towns and cities, police say. The current rules — which have largely been ignored — already limit Israelis from venturing beyond a kilometer from their homes, except for essential reasons.
US President Donald Trump tightens the screws on his most loyal soldier, trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use powers he does not have to overturn the will of voters in a desperate and futile bid to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, bearing witness to the formality of the Trump-Pence team’s defeat.
Beginning at 1 p.m., Pence’s role is to open the certificates of the electoral votes from each state and present them to the appointed “tellers” from the House and Senate in alphabetical order. At the end of the count, Pence, seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, has the task of announcing who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.
Despite his largely ceremonial assignment, Pence is under intense pressure from the president and legions of supporters who want the vice president to use the moment to overturn the will of the voters in a handful of battleground states.
“All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN,” Trump tweets. “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”
Pence has no such unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and states’ electors were chosen in accordance with state law, not fraudulently.
Pence told Trump during their weekly lunch in the West Wing on Tuesday that he did not believe he had the power to unilaterally overturn electoral votes, according to a person briefed on the one-on-one conversation. This person was not authorized to publicly discuss the private discussion, which was first reported by The New York Times, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Trump denied the report in a statement late Tuesday in which he continued to falsely assert Pence has powers he does not. But the vice president, whose office declined to discuss his plans, was not expected to deliver on Trump’s request to overturn the electors, acknowledging he has no such unilateral power.
An Israeli military court finds a prominent Palestinian activist guilty on six charges related to his participation in demonstrations in the West Bank city of Hebron against Jewish settlements and alleged human rights violations.
Issa Amro is convicted on three counts of protesting without a permit, two counts of obstructing security forces and one count of assault. The charges date back to 2010, according to a statement put out by his supporters, which says sentencing is scheduled for February 8.
It was not clear what kind of sentence he might receive. The Israeli military and Amro’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Amro is a well-known activist who has been detained multiple times, often after confrontations with settlers in which he says he was attacked and beaten. The Palestinian Authority detained him for a week in 2017 over a Facebook post critical of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Amro’s supporters say the charges are linked to his participation in various peaceful protests over the years. They said the assault charge stems from a previously closed case in 2010 in which Amro allegedly shoved someone during a scuffle in which he said he was assaulted.
Amnesty International said in a statement ahead of Wednesday’s hearing that Amro faces “politically motivated charges for his peaceful activism against Israel’s military occupation and illegal settlements.”
Outgoing US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s heading to Israel, following his visit to Sudan which saw Khartoum sign onto the Abraham Accords, paving the way for normalization with the Jewish state.
“On my way to Israel now for important meetings…” tweets Mnuchin.
On my way to Israel now for important meetings…
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) January 6, 2021
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi praises Sudan for signing the Abraham Accords with the US, paving the way for normalization with Israel.
He calls it an “important and welcome step.”
“I would like to thank the American administration for its ceaseless efforts to advance regional stability and peace in the entire Middle East and fervently hope this deal will lead to progress in the dialogue and normalization between Israel and Sudan, and to the advancement of ties between the countries,” says Ashkenazi.
US President-elect Joe Biden is heralding a Democratic victory in at least one of Georgia’s two US Senate runoffs as part of “a resounding message,” as well as good news for his agenda.
Biden in a statement congratulates Rev. Raphael Warnock on his “groundbreaking win” over Republican Kelly Loeffler, noting he was “hopeful” that fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff would also win his race.
Biden, the first Democrat in decades to win Georgia’s electoral votes, campaigned several times for the Senate candidates, whose performances affect his legislative agenda’s success. Ossoff’s victory would mean a 50-50 Senate split, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaking vote.
Ossoff held a small lead over Republican David Perdue as of Wednesday morning, though it was too early to call the race. Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points.
Ahead of the tightened lockdown, Defense Minister Benny Gantz orders the army to reopen coronavirus hotels for members of the ultra-Orthodox community and returning travelers from abroad, and says most Palestinian workers will be barred from entering Israel during the closure.
He also says the Israel Defense Forces won’t request additional vaccine doses until all high-risk Israelis and teachers are inoculated.
In addition, “the defense minister instructed, as a rule, to prepare for a closure of Judea and Samaria [West Bank]. In this framework, workers of essential areas will be exempted. If the construction industry remains open in Israel, Palestinian workers will allowed to enter.”
The head of Austria’s Jewish community apologizes for COVID-19 vaccine doses that were administered to community members, including himself, who were not meant to receive them.
In a letter to the community, Oskar Deutsch says it was a “mistake” to have included non-priority individuals in the vaccinations administered on Dec. 30 at the Maimonides Center, the Jewish community’s senior home.
It “should not have happened,” Deutsch says. “I myself was invited to receive an inoculation and didn’t refuse. That was a mistake and I apologize.”
The city of Vienna and the Red Cross had teamed up to provide doses to residents and staff of nine senior centers in the city. The doses were meant for older people at greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus and not for the broader community.
In his letter, Deutsch says the Maimonides Center had 30 doses left over after 343 residents and staffers were vaccinated. The surplus, he says, resulted from the fact that “vaccination readiness” was lower than expected among staff at the home and that each vial contained up to seven doses instead of the intended five.
“All residents and employees who wanted to be vaccinated were vaccinated,” Deutsch writes.
When the surplus was ascertained, the center’s medical director, Dan Seidler, reached out to ”people from outside the building,” Deutsch says — including elderly community members, physicians and others with preexisting conditions. Deutsch says those invitations led to vaccinations being administered to the grandchildren of community members who were not in any at-risk group.
The Vienna-based Association of Bukharan Jews, Jachad, calls Deutsch’s apology “lip service” and suggests he resign his post.
“Especially in these particularly difficult and challenging times, it is essential to put the ‘we’ ahead of the ‘I’ and to show solidarity,” the group’s chairman, Israel Abramov, writes. “The fact that President Deutsch is misusing this vaccination campaign for his own immunization does enormous damage to the integrity of the office. … [He] should now … draw the necessary conclusions from this moral lapse.”
An email to the board of the Vienna Jewish community signed by several prominent Austrian Jews suggests that the board consider possible “consequences” for the community leaders who were responsible, including resignations.
In the wake of the scandal, the Jewish community launches a “nonbinding” reservation system in which community members older than 65 and others with preexisting conditions can register to be vaccinated.
Likud MK Osnat Mark’s son has been arrested over an altercation with police.
Lidor Mark, 25, is accused of threatening police and defying orders, after refusing to move his car from a security road near the West Bank settlement city of Ma’ale Adumim on Monday.
He was arrested and questioned and released several hours later. His name has been under a gag order since.
The Jerusalem District Court rejects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to delay a hearing in his corruption trial by 30 days.
The hearing next week is set to focus on Netanyahu’s response to the criminal indictment against him.
The prime minister’s defense team asked for more time to respond to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s acknowledgment that he had authorized the criminal probes against the premier verbally, but not in writing.
The Jerusalem court, in its decision, orders Mandelblit to hand over documentation proving he authorized the investigations. The attorney general had referred to internal documentation from meetings that underlines his approval of the investigations, but didn’t attach those documents to his response to the court, the judges note.
The attorney general must hand over that evidence “without delay,” the ruling says, adding that the state can redact confidential information.
US President Donald Trump urges his deputy Mike Pence not to certify Joe Biden’s election victory at a Congress session starting later in the day, repeating unfounded allegations of vote fraud.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump tells cheering supporters outside the White House. “He has the absolute right to do it.
“Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t, that will be a sad day for our country.”
Trump rebukes “weak” Republicans planning to go along with the certification, accusing them of having “turned a blind eye” and threatening them with primary challenges in future elections.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirms the first shipment of Moderna vaccines will arrive in Israel tomorrow.
He says the shots will be administered to those who cannot go to vaccination centers, whether because they’re in quarantine or for other reasons.
Netanyahu does not specify how many shots are set to arrive.
He says he’s still working to move up other vaccine deliveries to Israel.
A Channel 12 report says the first consignment will comprise at least 100,000 doses, and possibly 120,000-130,000.
Chief Medical Officer at Moderna Tal Zaks says he believes the vaccine will protect recipients from the British and South African variants.
Zaks, in an interview with Channel 12, also warns against delaying the second dose of the vaccine, as Britain and other European countries have decided to do.
“I wouldn’t do it,” he says.
He also counsels against mixing the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Zaks, who is Israeli, says he was vaccinated last week. So was his mother in Israel — albeit with the Pfizer vaccine, he says. “Pfizer beat me on this,” he says.
Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of the Health’s Ministry department of public services, expresses concern over the effectiveness of the vaccines to shield its recipients from the South African variant.
“The South African variant is more troubling because it could cause serious illness among the young. It’s not yet clear how the vaccine will affect it and there’s preliminary research that is worrisome,” she tells a Knesset panel. “The new research tested 11 cases in relation to the antibodies developed by the existing vaccine and there is a suspicion that the vaccines will be less effective. If we reach the conclusion that it’s less effective, we will ask confirmed cases and those returning from South Africa to quarantine in hotels.”
The US Senate convenes to certify the November 3 election results.
Several thousand protesters cheer President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud at a rally near the White House on Wednesday ahead of Congress’ vote to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“We will not let them silence your voices,” Trump tells the protesters, who had lined up before sunrise to get a prime position to hear the president.
The crowd cheers when he says, “We will stop the steal.” That’s been the rallying cry of protests against the election results.
Lou Murray, a life insurance salesman from Boston, says he and many others still hoped Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would not certify the Electoral College. “I hope Vice President Pence has courage today, and I hope any politician who thinks he has a future shows courage to stand up and do what’s right,” Murray says.
Pence has no path for avoiding the certification of Biden as the next president.
US Vice President Mike Pence is defying President Donald Trump, saying he does not have the unilateral ability to discard electoral votes that will make Joe Biden president on Jan. 20.
Pence, in a statement issued minutes before he was to begin presiding over a joint session of Congress to count electoral votes, says, “It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
Trump has pressured his vice president to toss electors from battleground states that voted for Biden during the session.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit will soon file criminal charges against Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who has in the past served jail time for bribery, Channel 13 reports.
In November 2018, police recommended filing charges against the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party on suspicion of committing fraud, breach of trust, obstructing court proceedings, money laundering and tax offenses involving millions of shekels. Some of the incidents allegedly occurred while Deri was a cabinet minister.
Mandelblit, however, only intends to charge Deri with tax offenses, the report says.
Deri served 22 months in prison from 2000 to 2002, after he was convicted of taking bribes as interior minister in the 1990s.
He reclaimed the leadership of his Shas party shortly before the 2015 Knesset elections, replacing Eli Yishai. He returned to his Interior Ministry post in 2016, after a court ruled his prior conviction did not disqualify him from the position.
Congress has begun a joint session to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.
With supporters of President Donald Trump gathering around the Capitol, more than a dozen Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members have said they will object to the count from as many as six battleground states. They are echoing Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud.
Their efforts are almost certain to fail as many Republicans have said they will oppose the objections. But the session is expected to last into the night on Wednesday as the House and Senate must consider each objection separately and vote on whether to sustain it.
Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the session. He has no power to overturn the results, despite pressure from Trump to do so.
Biden won the Electoral College 306-232. He is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.
Another 4,488 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed since midnight, the Health Ministry says, bringing the number of active coronavirus cases to 60,801.
The ministry says 887 people are in serious condition, 210 of them on ventilators. The death toll stands at 3,512.
The ministry says 8,191 people were diagnosed yesterday, with 6.8% of tests returning positive.
Israel secretly handed dozens of coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority on Monday, the Kan public broadcaster reports.
The vaccines sent to Ramallah are designated for “humanitarian” and “unusual” cases, it says.
It’s unclear who will receive the shots.
Sources close to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, 85, tell the broadcaster he didn’t receive the vaccine, adding that the shots have yet to be administered.
The Palestinians also officially asked for a larger quantity of vaccines from Israel, the report says.
Supporters of US President Donald Trump clash with police forces on Capitol Hill, prompting the evacuation of offices and homes.
Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police.
This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today. pic.twitter.com/jC9P0YfSLQ
— Rep. Nancy Mace (@RepNancyMace) January 6, 2021
House GOP staffer tells me private residences on Capitol Hill are now being evacuated by Capitol Police
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 6, 2021
I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside. Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots. (1/2)
— Rep. Elaine Luria (@RepElaineLuria) January 6, 2021
This is WILD pic.twitter.com/dC8whGzIgw
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 6, 2021
Top Republican Mitch McConnell warns American democracy would enter a “death spiral” if Joe Biden’s win was overturned.
“This election, actually, was not unusually close,” McConnell says. “The Electoral College margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016… If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.”
CNN reports that the US Capitol is now on lockdown as Trump backers attempt to storm the building during the joint session certifying the election results.
The US Capitol is now on lockdown.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 6, 2021
Extremely tense on the west front of the Capitol. You can tell there’s been ample pepper spray—the air stings.
Barricades have been breached and Trump supporters are pressing against a line of riot cops. Repeated yells of PUSH FORWARD. pic.twitter.com/SQPCtGnhTI
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) January 6, 2021
US Vice President is escorted off the Senate floor during the certification of the electoral votes, after a mob of Donald Trump supporters riots outside the US Capitol, causing security forces to declare a lockdown of the building.
The session goes to recess.
The US Capitol Police are also evacuating some congressional office buildings due to “police activity” as thousands gather outside the Capitol to protest the electoral vote.
Police told congressional staff members they should evacuate the Cannon House Office Building and the building that houses the Library of Congress. It wasn’t immediately clear what specifically sparked the evacuation.
A police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
Thousands of people have descended on the US Capitol as Congress is expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win. Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with US Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.
Outside the Capitol, which is now on lockdown.
— Washingtonian (@washingtonian) January 6, 2021
The Israeli military has deployed Patriot air defense batteries near the southern city of Eilat in recent days amid concerns of attack from an Iran-backed militia in Yemen.
The move comes as the region marks a year since the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, the influential head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ expeditionary Quds Force, and a month and a half after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran’s military nuclear program, was killed, allegedly by Israel.
Iran has indicated that it plans to exact revenge for these killings. The Israeli military assessed that such a retaliation was likely to come from an Iranian proxy, potentially from Yemen’s Houthis, a group that has conducted a number of attacks on Tehran’s other rival in the region, Saudi Arabia.
In light of this threat, the Patriot batteries have been deployed near Israel’s southern tip of Eilat. This air defense system is used primarily to defend against ballistic missiles and aircraft.
Trump protesters have managed to break into the US Capitol. Footage posted online shows clashes inside the Congressional building.
Staffers and officials are told to hide in their rooms, according to CNN.
JUST IN – More entry points to the US Capitol breached despite building lockdown.pic.twitter.com/GJoRXf1cvo
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) January 6, 2021
BREAKING: Clashes reported inside the U.S. Capitol building pic.twitter.com/2twyZAD6wJ
— BNO News (@BNONews) January 6, 2021
JUST IN – Protesters have stormed the U.S Capitol, climbing floors inside.pic.twitter.com/FltlSTeCl4
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) January 6, 2021
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump blasts Mike Pence after his vice president refused to intervene in the certification by Congress of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” Trump tweets. “USA demands the truth!”
Trump’s statement comes after Pence, in defiance of the president, said he would not stop the certification by Congress of Biden’s victory.
The mayor of Washington, DC, has ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital beginning at 6 p.m. local time this evening after protestors seeking to overturn the election results storm the US Capitol building.
Mayor Muriel Bowser issues the order as protestors supporting US President Donald Trump breach the Capitol, where lawmakers are meeting to formally count the electors that will make Joe Biden president on January 20.
The order extends through 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.
The skirmishes come shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
Lawmakers are being evacuated from the US Capitol after protesters breached security and entered the building.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators are led out, escorted by staff and police. Members of the House were also being evacuated. Both chambers had been debating the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
The skirmishes come shortly after US President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
Protesters can be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.
Some House lawmakers tweet they are sheltering in place in their offices.
Members of Congress inside the House chamber are told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas is dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes by supporters of US President Donald Trump
Pro-Trump protestors breach the US Capitol this afternoon, violently clashing with law enforcement as lawmakers are gathered inside to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in November’s presidential election.
Law enforcement instructs lawmakers to retrieve masks from under their seats amid the clashes. The Capitol building is placed on lockdown, as Trump supporters march through evacuated public spaces in the building.
After egging on protests, Trump tweets to his supporters to “stay peaceful” as they violently clash with law enforcement and breach the Capitol building.
WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump calls for “peaceful” protests on Wednesday after his supporters storm the Capitol following a rally during which he urged Congress to reject Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” Trump says on Twitter more than an hour after protesters breached a security cordon.
“They are truly on the side of our Country,” Trump says. “Stay peaceful!”
The House of Representatives and Senate go into recess as protesters disrupt a session called to certify the Electoral College votes from the November 3 presidential election.
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
WASHINGTON — US police in the chamber of the House of Representatives draw their weapons as supporters of Donald Trump try to break in, a congressman says.
“Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber,” Representative Dan Kildee tweets from inside the chamber.
“We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks.”
Pressure is mounting on US President Donald Trump to condemn supporters who are violently clashing with law enforcement on Capitol Hill.
Among those urging Trump to act: his former communications director, Alyssa Farah, who tweets that Trump should “Condemn this now.”
She says, “you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”
Dozens of people have breached security perimeters at the Capitol, forcing the lockdown of the building and halting the vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Trump has so far offered a single tweet asking his supporters to “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
His former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tweets: “The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also addresses Trump supporters in a tweet, calling them the “patriots challenging the fraudulent election” and telling them that ”POTUS wants you to EXPRESS YOUR OPINION PEACEFULLY.”
A woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest during clashes between law enforcement and Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol, CNN reports.
The network says the circumstances in which she was shot remain unclear.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) Illinois tells CNN: “This is despicable… Anywhere else around the world, we would call this a coup attempt. That’s what I think it is.”
He adds: “But have no fear, the guard rails of democracy and the constitution will hold. And we will succeed. When this is over, we will look back and realize where this cancer has come from, and go after it.”
On Trump’s call for peaceful behavior, Kinzinger says it is not enough. “That’s cowardice. Cowardice is trying to just say ‘I want you to be peaceful.’ He needs to stand up and say ‘I lost the election. Let the count go ahead. The conspiracies I’ve been spewing out are false. Period.”
Georgia’s secretary of state and his staff have evacuated their offices at the state Capitol as armed protesters gather outside.
Gabriel Sterling, a top elections official, says that it was an internal decision made by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to have his team leave.
“We saw stuff happening at the Georgia Capitol and said we should not be around here, we should not be a spark,” Sterling tells The Associated Press.
About 100 protesters gather at the state Capitol in Atlanta to protest President Donald Trump’s election loss. Some are armed with long guns.
Trump has focused much of his ire on Raffensperger in the weeks following his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia by about 12,000 votes.
The Department of Homeland Security is sending additional federal agents to the US Capitol to help quell violence from supporters of President Donald Trump who are protesting Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
A spokesperson tells The Associated Press that officers from the Federal Protective Service and US Secret Service agents are being sent to the scene. He says they were requested to assist by US Capitol Police.
Dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.
Trump has riled up his supporters by falsely claiming widespread voter fraud to explain his loss.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, tweeted that Trump ordered National Guard and other federal security agents were being sent to the Capitol.
“We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful,” she tweeted.
Several US lawmakers are decrying what they call the attempted “coup” against the US government, as supporters of President Donald Trump smashed into the US Congress and shut down legislative sessions.
“A mob storming the US Capitol to overturn an election. A coup in progress,” said Representative Val Demings in a tweet.
“This is anarchy. This is an attempted coup. And it’s happening in America because of lawless lawmakers,” added another congressman, Seth Moulton.
Others also characterizing the assault as a coup attempt blamed Trump for inciting the protesters, who halted the confirmation by Congress of Joe Biden as the winner of the November 3 election.
“The president is inciting domestic terrorism,” said Representative Mark Pocan.
Republican lawmakers are increasingly calling on President Donald Trump to act to deescalate the violent protests at the US Capitol by his supporters angry about his election loss.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he spoke with the president earlier today and told him to make a statement to “make sure that we can calm individuals down.”
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweets that “it is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down.”
Republican Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey tells The Associated Press that while he sympathizes with the protesters’ position, they shouldn’t get violent, and it would be “nice” if Trump calls on them to “protest in a peaceful way in an appropriate spot, where you belong, where you should be.”
Many Republicans had backed Trump’s false claims of widespread voter spread to explain away his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.
Republican US Rep. Mike Gallagher, of Wisconsin, posts a video message urging Trump to “call it off.”
“This is Banana Republic crap that we’re watching right now,” says Gallagher, who had spoken out against objections from fellow Republicans to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College vote.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid says he is “deeply saddened and shocked” by the violence at the US Capitol after Trump supporters stormed the building.
“My thoughts are with all my friends in Washington tonight. We hope to see order restored and the transition of power completed. America needs to go back to being a role model for democracies across the world,” Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, writes on Twitter.
I’m deeply saddened and shocked by the images from the United States. My thoughts are with all my friends in Washington tonight. We hope to see order restored and the transition of power completed. America needs to go back to being a role model for democracies across the world.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) January 6, 2021
CNN says ‘multiple officers” have been injured in the midst of the chaos.
At least one officer has been hospitalized, it says, citing several sources.
It says police earlier warned that they were being overwhelmed.
US Vice President Mike Pence calls on Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to immediately leave, saying the violence “must stop now.”
The statement goes farther than Trump, who has urged his backers to be peaceful but has stopped short of calling them to clear the Capitol.
Trump earlier lashed out Pence for refusing to interfere in the certification of Biden’s Electoral College win. Pence was ushered to a safe location after the protesters entered the Capitol.
The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 6, 2021
The Pentagon says about 1,100 DC National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman says that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.
A defense official says all 1,100 of the DC Guard are being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and can also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.
The officials say the DC request for the National Guard wasn’t rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Hoffman says the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department.
CNN says all lawmakers have been moved into secure locations.
It also reports that security forces believe they are starting to gain control of the situation, although the situation remains fluid.
The crowd on the actual steps on the east side of the Capitol building has “thinned out a little bit,” CNN reports.
There have been confrontations on the west side of the building, it adds, citing the woman shot and badly injured, and the police officer hospitalized.
US President-elect Joe Biden condemns the assault on the US Capitol and demands that President Trump “step up” and demand an end to the siege.
“All of you have been watching what I’ve been watching,” Biden begins. “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times — an assault on the citadel of liberty, on the Capitol itself,” he says in a televised address from Delaware. “An assault on the people’s representatives, on the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them, on the public servants who work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law… an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.”
He calls the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol “a small number of extremists” and says their behavior “borders on sedition and it must end now. I call on this mob to pull back and let the work of democracy go forward,” Biden says.
He says the words of a president at their best “can inspire” and at their worst “can incite. Therefore I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the constitution, and demand an end to this siege.
“To storm the capital, to smash windows, to occupy offices,” Biden continues, “it’s not a protest. It’s insurrection. The world’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and sad that our nation, so long a beacon of light and hope for democracy, has come to such a dark moment.
“Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and we will prevail again and we’ll prevail now. The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, honor respect, the rule of law — just plain, simple decency… not stoking the flames of hate and chaos.”
He says America is “about honor, decency, respect, tolerance — that’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been.
“The certification of the electoral college vote is supposed to be a sacred ritual … to affirm the majesty of American democracy. But today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile, and to preserve it requires people of goodwill, leaders with the courage to stand up, and devoted not to the pursuit of power, or pursuits of their own selfish interests at any cost, but of the common good. Think of what our children watching television are thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at.”
He cites Abraham Lincoln, whose work he says has been interrupted today, quoting “the way is plain”: “The way is plain here too… It’s the way of democracy, of respect, decency, of honor, and commitment as patriots to this nation.”
He says despite today’s scenes he remains optimistic. “There’s never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together. This god awful display today is bringing home to every Republican and Democrat and Independent in the nation that we must step up. This is the United States of America…
“So President Trump, step up,” he demands.
“May God bless America. May God protect our troops, and all those folks at the Capitol, in trying to preserve order.”
NEW YORK — The Dow finishes at a fresh record as Wall Street largely shrugs off unrest in Washington caused by angry supporters of US President Donald Trump, who are forcefully occupying the US Capitol.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ends at 30,829.40, up 1.4 percent.
The broad-based S&P 500 gains 0.6 percent to 3,748.14, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sheds 0.6 percent at 12,740.79.
Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has won his Senate runoff election.
His victory gives Democrats control of the Senate for the opening of Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency. Democrats needed to win both of Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday to claim the Senate majority.
The 33-year-old Ossoff defeats 71-year-old Republican David Perdue, who held the seat for the past six years and had the strong support of President Donald Trump.
Trump had called on Georgia Republicans to swarm to the polls for the Republican Senate candidates even as he warned, without evidence, of the prospect of widespread voter fraud.
Biden held his own rally Monday to urge his coalition to turn out for Ossoff, a former congressional aide and journalist.
In the other race, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler.
With the two Democratic victories, the Senate will have a 50-50 seat split between the parties. But the vice president casts tie-breaking votes, and that will be Democrat Kamala Harris.
Democrats already control the House, and adding the Senate will make it more difficult for Republicans to block Biden’s agenda, along with his Cabinet picks and judicial nominations.
Donald Trump calls on his supporters who storm the US Capitol to leave, while continuing to make unfounded claims that he won the presidential election against Joe Biden.
“I know your pain, I know your hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt,” Trump says in a tweeted video message.
He adds: “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people… so go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Hundreds of Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol, in what several lawmakers have called a coup attempt. At one point a Trump supporter sat at the platform where Vice President Pence had been minutes earlier.
Lawmakers were evacuated. All 1,100 members of the DC National Guard have been mobilized, and hundreds more security forces are also facing off against the insurrectionists.
As things stand, CNN says, security forces are still “hopelessly outnumbered” by the insurrectionists.
A curfew is due to come into force in DC in about an hour.
In a voice vote by phone, the government approves the tightened lockdown rules set to take effect tomorrow night.
The new measures, which will close schools and further restrict commerce, will be in force for two weeks.
At least one explosive device has been found near the US Capitol amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Law enforcement officials say the device is no longer a threat.
That’s according to a US official who isn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and speaks on condition of anonymity.
Thousands of supporters of the president occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Vice President Mike Pence has called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than Trump, who merely called for his supporters to “remain peaceful.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz says anyone who believes in democracy should be pained by the violent storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters.
“I didn’t believe I would see pictures like these in the strongest democracy in the world,” Gantz tweets.
He adds: “This is proof that before political rivalry, we must agree on the rules of the game — protecting the rule of law, respecting democratic procedures and respectful discourse.”
Police are clearing away Trump backers who stormed the US Capitol.
Video aired by CNN shows the steps largely empty of protesters, after they were earlier filled by supporters of the US president. The network says people mostly left on their own accord.
The head of the US Republican Party in Israel condemns the violent storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters.
“I’m ashamed tonight. I don’t like seeing these pictures, this has nothing to do with the Republican Party and our values,” Mark Zell tells Army Radio.
Zell says that he still supports Trump and agrees with the US president’s unfounded claim that the election was stolen.
“What is happening today doesn’t reflect his actions,” Zell says of Trump.
Pro-Trump demonstrators amass outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two states. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers ring out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the US Capitol.
Hundreds of mostly unmasked people gather outside the capitols with Trump flags and “Stop the Steal” signs. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carry guns.
New Mexico state police evacuate staff from a statehouse building that includes the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrive in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. A spokesperson for the governor´s office says there is no indication of threats at the statehouse.
The staff of Utah Governor Spencer Cox is sent home as several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators rally outside the Capitol, though the demonstration remains relatively calm. A brief scuffle between pro-Trump demonstrators, who included members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters breaks out in Columbus, Ohio, but there is no immediate threat to the Capitol.
The Washington, DC, police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.
Police Chief Robert Contee calls the attack a riot.
As darkness begins to set in, law enforcement officials are working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas are visible.
Police are in full riot gear. They move down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. curfew.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse is directly blaming President Donald Trump for the storming of the US Capitol by huge, angry crowds of pro-Trump protesters.
The Nebraska lawmaker and frequent critic of Trump says that the Capitol “was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution.”
Sasse says in a written statement, “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”
The protesters broke into the building as Congress was beginning the formal process of certifying the electoral votes that gave Democratic President-elect Joe Biden a victory over Trump in November. Vice President Mike Pence has the ceremonial role of overseeing that certification and resisted Trump efforts to pressure him to overturn the election results.
Trump has continued to fallaciously claim that the voting was marred by fraud and that he actually won. Earlier today Trump addressed a huge crowd of protesters outside the White House and urged them to gather at the Capitol.
Facebook has removed a video Trump posted to his Facebook page calling for his supporters who stormed the US Capitol to leave, while repeating unfounded claims of election fraud, an executive at the social media company says.
“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” tweets Guy Rosen, the VP of integrity.
This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.
— Guy Rosen (@guyro) January 6, 2021
Officials have declared the US Capitol complex “secure” after heavily armed police moved to end a nearly four-hour violent occupation by supporters of President Donald Trump.
An announcement saying “the Capitol is secure” rings out inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applaud.
The occupation interrupted Congress’ Electoral College count that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration on January 20.
Lawmakers were evacuated to secure locations around the Capitol complex and Washington, DC after thousands of Trump supporters breached the building and skirmished with police officers.
Lawmakers have signaled that they would resume the constitutionally mandated count as soon as it was safe to do so.
US President Donald Trump appears to justify the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters, after police clear them from the area after an hours-long siege.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump writes on Twitter.
“Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!
A woman who was shot inside the US Capitol during the violent pro-Trump protest has died.
That’s according to two officials familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
The Metropolitan Police Department says it is taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police don’t immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.
Hours later, police had declared the Capitol was secured.
Former US president George W. Bush says he and his wife, Laura, are sickened and heartbroken over the “mayhem” in Washington and have watched in “disbelief and dismay” as events unfolded.
Bush says the “assault” on the Capitol and the disruption of a constitutionally mandated meeting to affirm Democrat Joe Biden’s victory was “undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”
The Republican says in a statement that he is “appalled” by what he describes as “reckless” behavior by some political leaders since the election and the lack of respect for US institutions, traditions and law enforcement.
Bush addresses those who are disappointed by the election result, saying, “Our country is more important than the politics of the moment.”
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting. They fought with officers both inside the building and outside.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney is blaming President Donald Trump for inciting a violent “insurrection” at the US Capitol.
Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Trump’s, says the violent breach of the Capitol was “due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months.″
What happened at the U.S. Capitol today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. https://t.co/NojKm86sZ2
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) January 6, 2021
Says Romney: “We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.
The Utah senator ridicules Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans who want an “audit” of the election results: “Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the president will continue to claim the election was stolen.”
The simple truth, Romney says, “is that President-elect (Joe) Biden won this election. President Trump lost.″
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, condemns a pro-Trump mob for storming the US Capitol, saying that the United States always condemns political violence.
“I have travelled to many countries and always support the right of every human being to protest peacefully for their beliefs and their causes,” Pompeo writes on Twitter.
“But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad.”
But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad. Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 6, 2021
Dozens of pro-Trump protesters remain on the streets of Washington in defiance of the curfew imposed after rioters stormed the US Capitol.
The mostly maskless crowd was forcibly removed from the Capitol after breaking into the building and halting the constitutional process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were pushed out of the immediate area and moved down the hill, where they taunted law enforcement and moved barricades.
Police say anyone found on the streets after the 6 p.m. curfew will be arrested. Officers in full riot gear with shields line the streets near the US Capitol.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says their debate on affirming Biden’s victory will continue after the Capitol was secured.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers will resume counting electoral votes once the US Capitol is given an all clear, after the certification process was halted when Donald Trump supporters stormed the building.
“We have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use,” Pelosi says in a letter to colleagues, after reports that the building was secured by police and demonstrators were removed.
The senior lawmaker blasts the storming of the Capitol as a “shameful assault” on American democracy that was “anointed at the highest level of government, but says “it cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.”
US Vice President Mike Pence is back in the Senate and “will finish the people’s business,” his spokesman says.
Vice President @Mike_Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol.@VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress.
And now we will finish the People’s business.
— Devin O’Malley (@VPPressSec) January 7, 2021
And the Washington Post’s congressional reporter shares photos of the Electoral College certificates confirming Joe Biden’s win being taken back to the chamber to continue the process.
The electoral college certificates – ratifying Biden’s win – are being marched back to the Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/uNte4GcF3S
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) January 7, 2021
A West Virginia lawmaker took video of himself and other supporters of President Donald Trump rushing into the US Capitol after they breached the security perimeter.
In the video by Republican Del. Derrick Evans, later deleted from his social media page, he is shown wearing a helmet and clamoring at the door to breach the building in Washington, DC.
“We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” he says in a packed doorway amid Trump followers holding flags and complaining of being pepper sprayed. Once inside, Evans can be seen on video milling around the Capitol Rotunda, where historical paintings depict the republic’s founding, and yells, “No vandalizing!”
— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 6, 2021
State House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw says Evans will need to “answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today.”
The delegate from Wayne County says in a statement on Facebook that he is heading back to West Virginia and “was simply there as an independent member of the media to film history.”
Twitter has for the first time locked Trump’s account for a 12-hour period, and is demanding he remove tweets excusing violence.
The social media platform is also threatening the president with “permanent suspension” for his role in today’s events.
“We have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” Twitter says. “This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.
“Future violations… will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham has submitted her resignation, effective immediately, in reaction to today’s violent protests that saw supporters of the president storm the US capitol, CNN reports.
Grisham had been an aide to Trump since 2015, during his presidential campaign.
Former President Bill Clinton says the attack on the US Capitol was fueled over four years of “poison politics” and lit by President Donald Trump.
Clinton says that the riot at the Capitol resulted from a combination of deliberate disinformation that created distrust in the system and pit Americans against one another.
He writes, “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost.”
US Senators are now headed back to the chamber, under heavy guard, to continue the process of certifying Joe Biden election victory, which was cut off by the breach of rioters into the Capitol building earlier today.
The session is expected to resume within minutes. It is not yet clear how Republicans who raised objections to the certification plan to proceed, given the day’s tumultuous and shocking events in Washington.
Heavy law enforcement detail escorting senators to the Capitol, the joint session is expected to resume at 8pm pic.twitter.com/3Z7RrnPtqL
— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) January 7, 2021
Donald Trump’s former defense secretary James Mattis says today’s “violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump.”
In a statement, Mattis says Trump’s “use of the presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo-political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”
US Vice President Pence reopens the US Senate session on certifying Biden’s election win. He thanks police for quelling the violence and securing the building.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today: You did not win,” he says. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.
“Let’s get back to work,” he says.
Watch the session live here:
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decries the “attempted insurrection” at the US Capitol by mobs of Trump supporters.
“The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats,” he says, calling the protesters an “unhinged crowd.”
He says: “We’ve never been deterred before and we won’t be deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy and they failed.”
Former President Barack Obama says history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonor and shame for the nation.
Obama say the violence was “incited by a sitting president” who baselessly lied about the outcome of the presidential election.
Obama says it should not have come as a surprise, and that for two months “a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth.”
He says “their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”
Several Republican senators are now indicating they will not stand in the way of certifying Joe Biden’s victory, the latest being Sen. James Lankford.
“Obviously the commission that we have asked for is not going to happen at this point,” Lankford tells the Senate on the floor. “We are headed toward the certification of Joe Biden to be president.”
Sen. Lankford says "obviously the commission that we have asked for is not going to happen at this point" and that "we are headed toward the certification of Joe Biden to be POTUS." pic.twitter.com/5u6IWsOQe9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 7, 2021
Chuck Schumer, expected to become Senate Majority Leader later this month following Democrats’ election victories in the Georgie Senate runoffs, says the events of today “will go down as one of the darkest days of recent American history, a final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president.
“These were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists,” he says.
He says that “This temple to democracy was desecrated,” and that Trump supporters’ actions “will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away, the final terrible indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly our worst.”
.@SenSchumer: "This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away. The final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States. Undoubtedly our worst." pic.twitter.com/ehUuIKzGvE
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 7, 2021
A flash YouGov poll of 1,397 registered voters on today’s events shows that while a majority of them (62%) view the chaos at the Capitol as a threat to democracy, only 27% of Republicans feel that way.
Meanwhile, 68% of Republicans did not agree that the events threatened democracy, while 45% actively supported the mobs.
Seventy-one percent of all voters either strongly or somewhat opposed the behavior of rioters in Washington.
Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Their change of heart came after a violent mob stormed the US Capitol earlier Wednesday and interrupted their proceedings. One person was fatally shot.
Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.
Lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College votes from each state were forced to evacuate after an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol. Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”
All three had previously signed on to Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier Wednesday.
US media reports say that several cabinet secretaries have been discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
The unsourced reports, on CNN and NBC, say that they have not formally presented the plan to Vice President Mike Pence.
However, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Pence, calling on him to invoke the Amendment in the wake of the attack on Congress today.
They accused Trump of egging on the mob, who they accused of insurrection.
Police have arrested 30 people for violating a curfew imposed in Washington, DC, after rioters stormed the US Capitol.
Officials say the 30 people were arrested Wednesday evening after being found on the streets after 6 p.m.
The curfew had been imposed after scores of supporters of US President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol, halting the constitutional process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were later forcibly removed from the Capitol.
The Metropolitan Police Department said 15 other people had been arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday in various protest-related arrests on an array of charges, including weapons possession and assault.
Fire officials also took 13 people to area hospitals on Wednesday from protest-related injuries.
The Senate has overwhelmingly turned aside a challenge to US President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.
The objection to the results in Arizona — spearheaded by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz — was rejected 93-6 on Wednesday night. All votes in favor came from Republicans, but after violent protesters mobbed the Capitol earlier Wednesday a number of GOP senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course.
The Republicans raised the objection based on false claims pushed by President Donald Trump and others of issues with the vote in Arizona, which were repeatedly dismissed in Arizona’s courts and by the state’s election officials.
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is extending a state of emergency in the US capital for a further 15 days.
Bowser’s order says the groups who stormed the US Capitol are intent on “engaging in violence and destruction.”
The order would be in force until after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
I have issued Mayor’s Order 2021-003, extending the public emergency declared earlier today for a total of 15 days, until and unless provided for by further Mayoral Order.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) January 7, 2021
Bowser accuses President Donald Trump of continuing to “fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid.”
Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the US Capitol.
Washington, DC, Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the US Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”
Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.
The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.
DC police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
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